It is hard to believe that your next interview for a new job might just be in your bedroom. Over 300 million people participated in Zoom meetings this past quarter, up from 10 million prior to the pandemic. And, roughly two-thirds of U.S. workers who have been working from home would prefer to continue doing so when restrictions lift according to a Gallup poll. In the distance past, we chuckled and fondly remembered the views of a roaming toddler or misdirected pet bursting into your live video meeting. We have all seen unmade beds, sinks overflowing with dirty dishes, photo bombs of parents and pets, and some other crazy things which I will leave unmentioned! But now it is game on, as video interviews and meetings are the new normal. Since we most likely are not returning to our workplaces soon, we thought we would offer some helpful advice on video etiquette and preparation to ace that next interview or meeting with your Manager!
- BE SECURE – Ensure zero disruptions – Close your door, turn off anything that buzzes or rings, remove notifications and email alerts if you will be screen sharing. If you are sharing a home with someone, ensure that they can not be heard in the background. Last week I was on a professional webinar and heard someone running the vacuum!
- BE SEEN – Turn on your Camera and check surroundings – It is very important for you to see your appearance on the camera, and what your backscreen and lighting look like especially those using laptops. Refrain from adding silly screen savers or other funny backdrops – this has grown old. If you are making a first impression, this is especially important. You will want to appear nicely framed in the center of the screen, with good lighting surrounding you. Make sure the camera is directly capturing your face; I have had several meetings where the camera angle is pointing up someone’s nose (not good)! If your background is on the darker side, avoid wearing dark colors, and if you backdrop is bright avoid solid white and light colors.
- BE PROMPT – Follow all Good Meeting & Interview Protocols – Do not arrive late to your meeting (oftentimes you need to be accepted into the meeting by the host) if you are late this becomes obvious and uncomfortable for all. Review the technology prior to your meeting to know exactly what to do for the meeting. Video platforms vary to some degree and you do not want to scramble to get settled. Remember, although video it is still a formal meeting.
- BE MINDFUL OF SLURPING & SNACKING – If you are with your colleagues and your meeting is informal – that is one thing but for an interview – No eating! You wouldn’t bring a bologna sandwich to a face to face meeting, Would you? – Treat your video meeting as you would your formal face to face meeting. And a further word of caution “Don’t try to sneak in some chips or crisps – they are surprisingly loud on video!”
- BE SEATED – It is important to remain stationary and focused during your meeting; especially if it is an interview. Do your best to stay in your seat and try not to move to another location especially if you are on a laptop or mobile device. When interviewing, I have noticed that it is very easy to get distracted by your technology, so put away anything that might take your focus and attention away from your meeting.
- BE SILENT – The mute button is your friend – use it. To ensure that there is absolutely no background noise coming from your end, keep your video on mute until its your turn to talk. It is hard to predict something unexpected from occurring and best to remove all potential problems.
- BE STRATEGIC – Let’s face it – nothing is more engaging than a face to face meeting. But, being on video comes with some perks – like being able to keep your resume handy and having questions and facts readily available on your desk to aid you in acing your interview. Dig into the company’s history, research their financial backing, and ask them some questions that will be useful to your future i.e. “How have they navigated the work/life balance issues that Covid 19 has created?” and/or “How has your firm adapted over the past few months and what have you learned that surprised you?” Now get pumped, dress professionally, prepare ahead of time and get ready to be IMPRESS your video audiences!